Leni vs. Sara
If Sara Duterte throws her hat in the ring and ends up winning the presidency next year, it will be the third parent-and-child pair to capture the highest elective post in our country’s history. We’ve had a father and daughter with Diosdado Macapagal and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and a mother and son with Cory Aquino and Noynoy Aquino.
Diosdado Macapagal was our president from 1961 to 1965, while his daughter became our nation’s leader from 2001 to 2010. Cory Aquino became president from 1986 to 1992, while her son occupied our country’s top post from 2010 to 2016. If Sara becomes president, it will be the first time in our history that an incumbent president would be immediately succeeded by his/her offspring. If Sara wins, our country would be ruled by parent-child pairs for a total of 37 years. That’s 49 percent of the life of our republic since we gained independence in 1946.
Sara will have the huge advantage of having government resources and machinery at her disposal in aid of her candidacy. But she will also have the humongous disadvantage of carrying the heavy political baggage of her father’s rule.
The other political personalities who are either eyeing or being eyed for the presidency are Vice President Leni Robredo, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Sen. Grace Poe, former senator Bongbong Marcos, and Sen. Bong Go.
There are other politicians who have announced plans to run for the presidency in 2022. These are Sen. Panfilo Lacson, Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, former senator Antonio Trillanes IV, and Sen. Richard Gordon. In all likelihood, these politicians are eyeing either the vice presidency or the Senate, and they’re saber-rattling for the presidency only for purposes of generating headlines to increase their visibility to voters.
Voters for the 2022 presidential election can be clearly divided into two camps: Duterte supporters and Duterte detractors. For Duterte supporters, the choices will be Sara Duterte, Manny Pacquiao, Bong Go, and Bongbong Marcos. For Duterte detractors, the options will be Leni Robredo, Isko Moreno, and Grace Poe.
Will Pacquiao, Go, and Marcos give way to Sara Duterte? Go is expected to do so, but how about Pacquiao and Marcos? Pacquiao was reportedly advised by Duterte allies to desist for now (“Magpahinog ka muna”), which means Pacquiao is not being considered as a presidential candidate for the Duterte camp. Will Pacquiao run without a party and rely on his hard-earned billions to finance his candidacy? Will Marcos make a run for the presidency this time around? Duterte the father won in 2016 because of a crowded slate of candidates. Will Duterte the daughter lose because of a crowded slate in 2022?
Of the prospective candidates for the Duterte detractors, will anyone give way? Vice President Robredo has declared that she’s open to run for the presidency on the condition that there’s only one opposition candidate, and that she’s willing to give way in order to achieve this objective. Isko Moreno is acting and speaking like an eager presidential candidate, while Grace Poe has not made any overt act or statement showing interest in a second presidential run.
For the purists among Duterte detractors, Robredo will be the fervent choice because they resent Moreno’s and Poe’s prevaricating stand on President Duterte. For the pragmatists among anti-Duterte forces, they will go either for Moreno or Poe because of the perceived popular appeal of the two among the masses.
The emerging political landscape in next year’s presidential election will not be defined by the mere contrasting qualifications of the prospective candidates. If ego, personal ambition, and shortsightedness will reign unrestrained, it will be a battle royale among multiple candidates. If personal foibles are somehow restrained, it will be an epic one-on-one battle between Leni Robredo and Sara Duterte.
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